Monday, May 23, 2016

Rainy season

Dear Family,

Well this week has been a learning experience for me to say the least. After all our work I think I know what we need to do in the area so that we can start progressing. The only thing holding us back is the language and just the whole new missionary thing.

Tuesday was my first district meeting with the elders and sisters in my district. The whole zone is definitely needing a jump start and that is what I am going to try and help everyone get. Most missionaries here just work and don't seem to find very much joy in what they do. My main goal is to help people feel that no matter what you do in missionary work, fun is a big part of everything we do. 


Wednesday me and my companion went on some crazy long adventures. We started walking in the morning and did not stop until 9 pm. I will admit that 14 miles in one day is kinda a lot but it was really fun and we were able to see the big part of our area. When we finally got back to the house we were both the most tired I have ever been. I can say that this is way harder than the last time that I trained. Now I have to deal with emotions and language problems that I have not seen for a good long time. Just got to keep working that is the cure for all and any problems on the mission. 


Saturday was a big day for us we had some baptisms in Numancia ward. We had one in our area and the elders in the other area had one as well. Despite some drama that morning, in the end it all went as planned and we had a great day. The spirit was very strong and the atmosphere was very solemn in the chapel. Both the new members bore their testimonies and they were so emotional it was amazing to see people so prepared for baptism. 


Sunday was full of rain and less actives. The chapel here is very small but in spite of that they seem to fill it every week. I have never seem saints that care so much about this gospel and they really want progression for their ward. I am loving this ward and the area, if President will let me, I think this might be the place that I want to finish out my mission. 

I can say this part of my mission will turn out to be the hardest. Learning 2 new languages, training a new missionary, whitewashing an area that has had some challenges the past few months. We have our work cut out for us and I could not be more excited for the months to come. 

Love your son, 
Elder Swanton

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Turned uside down

Dear Family,

The only way to describe what has happened in the last few days. In short my whole mission has been turned upside down and everything I have learned is being put to the test. I should have seen it coming but in the words of President Aquino "when everything feels like its moving smoothly, that's when you should expect change".

Tuesday we took Elder Rasmussen into the office so he could get his new companion. Right when we got there Elder Tracy and Elder Smith sat us down and told us the transfer news. They told me that I would be transferring as well as training a new missionary in a new area. I did not believe them at first but they said they were serious. The first thing that came to my head is what the heck I still have work to do in Mandurriao. But as I went home and started packing then it started to sink in that this is what the Lord wants. Haha the funny thing is Elder Larson got the same call and we will both be training new missionaries.

Wednesday morning I headed into the office early after I said goodbye to all my people in Mandurriao. That was the hardest thing to do was say goodbye to people that I have become so close to over the past few months. When I got to the office Me, Larson and Mudrow all just sat around and caught up on good old times. The next thing I know the AP's say that it is time to go and get our new Elders. When they called my name and then my comps. Elder Fa'alavelave walked out into the middle of the floor and we had a big hug. I was so pumped and he was to. I could tell he was dealing with some serious Jet Lag but never the less we were both pumped. Elder Fa'alavelave is from Hawaii but they just moved to Utah within the last 4 months. His sister is serving in the Philippines as well in the mission above ours. 

Thursday we all headed out to our areas. Elder Larson's son is Elder Stratton from Montana and they are headed to Roxas Zone. Me and my comp are headed up to Kalibo Zone. For the first time in the mission we are in different zone and will not be doing p days as a big group. The ride to Kalibo was about 6 hours and my comp slept the whole way. I am kinda nervous for the language because it is Tagalog and I am not that good at it. My new Area in Numancia also has this Crazy Language called Aklanon. 

Friday was the first day in the new area and it was crazy. Me and the comp spent most of the day cleaning the house. The elders that served before us were cleaning challenged and the house was alot of work.. I have never seen a house like this in the mission, but after alot of hard work we got it done and the house is not to bad now. After that we went out to work and saw how much work we have to do before we see some success in this area. But I have a firm faith that heavenly father would not send us both here unless we could do it. 

Sunday was really fun, the Ward here is super strong even though they are really far away from things. They have a strong Priesthood group and if thing keep on how they are we will be getting some members to work with us and then the magic starts. After church me and the kid headed over to some less actives houses to learn this language and make a difference in this ward and area. 

I love you all and hope you had a great week. Just know that we are going to work as hard as we can until the last day and then after that its only up from there. 

Love your son, 
Elder Swanton


Monday, May 2, 2016

Change and become better

Dear Family,

Well, I will answer the big question up front and first so that mom and family can see it. I will be skyping next week on Monday the 9th for me, but for the family it will be Sunday afternoon about 5 in the afternoon. So on Sunday have the family all together so we can chop it up like real folk one last time. 

This week was super hard and also full of so much revelation and spirit. I have really found my purpose these last few weeks with me and Elder Crichton working as hard as we can to get the work moving around here. I am just going to focus on the highlights of the week because I really don't have much time right now but we will get to talk next week. All the siblings get your questions and write them down so you can remember. 

Thursday was the second day of Mission Leader Training and by far the best day I have had in a good long time. A couple days ago the APs called and asked me if I would give a training on the Christ Like Attribute Obedience. I was kinda taken back because it is a known fact in the beginning of my mission I was not the most rule following Elder. But these last few months I made a commitment to change and become better. I guess the APs and President noticed and they asked my to share my experience and battles with Obedience. I used the Atonement to teach and the spirit was so strong by the end of my training even President Aquino was crying. I can say it was just one more of the many turning points in a mission. 

Saturday we had baptismal interviews in Lapuz and that was a super fun time. I interviewed Sister Daisy and for only being 18 years old she has a plan for her life. After her interview we talked about her serving a mission and she was so happy and committed to prepare to serve one year from her baptism. Later that night we help the Mandurriao sisters get ready for their baptism. While me and my comp have hit a little rut, the sisters in the other area have been going hard and had 4 baptisms in the last little bit with more on the way. 

Monday has been a crazy day we woke up and help Elder Stevens pack his bags because he goes home today. After we headed over to Lapaz Plaza for our last big day of sports. My knee has been doing better but as we were about to finish a game I started to sprint with the ball and felt a big pop in the back of my thigh. I think it might be just a bad sprain but I will keep an eye on it. I just cant seem to get fully healthy these days. I will also be getting a new comp tomorrow. Elder Crichton will be transferring to my homeland of Antique. He is very excited and so am I. One more transfer as a Zone Leader and Mandurriao Elder. 

I love you all and hope that I will be able to get a hold of you for some Skype. I love my mission right now and would not trade it for anything in the world. 

Love Elder Swanton


Time for a test

Dear Family,

First off congrats mom for being done with school I wish I could say that I was done and on my way to a career but I have a long road ahead haha. This week was awesome because of the many spiritual experiences that happened and all that I was able to learn from them. 

Thursday we had interviews with President Aquino. The gossip I have been hearing from the office Elders is that I will be stepping down and heading off to some area that needs some help. We also had 72 hours kit checks from Sister Aquino. The good news is that I passed and for once in my mission I had all the things she wanted from us. Step one down and the next step is my interview with President. When I got into the room it was very cold. He love to keep the room cold to make us Utahns at home hahah but anyways it was super fun he said he was proud of the Elder that I had become and also that if I wanted I could choose were I go next. I suggested San Lorenzo Gumerias. The hardest area in the mission but for some reason it is the only place that I can think of going that will really test what kind of Elder I am. President said he will think about it and get back to me. Step two check and then it was back to work in the hottest day ever. 

Friday I got to work with my boy Elder Tracy the AP South. We had a fantastic day in the blazing hot sun teaching people the gospel even most of them just wanted to get home to their Electric Fans. Later that night was when we had some cool things happen. We were walking down an alley that almost two years ago on my first day in the mission I walked down. Then all of a sudden I remembered this family that I visited and how great they were. Elder Tracy said lets go and somehow I remembered exactly how to get to their house. It was also in the complete dark so that is how crazy it was. As it turns out they just had a brother die in their family so it was the best time ever for us to go and ask the family if we could help them with anything. As we left with a prayer, the mother started crying and thanking us for coming. After all this time the missionary's came back and she was so happy. When we got back to the house we both just started laughing because if I had not gone with Elder Tracy on this exact day and been on that exact road we would have never found them. The lord has a plan for all of us. 

It may not seem like to much for some people back home, but for us it's a big deal. I am so grateful for this week and all the blessings that come from being a missionary. I would not trade this for anything, anyone, or any amount. I can't wait to see all of you on Mothers day next week I will get you the details and what will be happening. 

Love Elder Swanton